What is the Difference Between a License Suspension and a Probated License Suspension

Different professions have varying degrees of discipline that individuals can receive. The severity of discipline depends on various factors. Still, a license suspension is one of the more serious forms of discipline, as it directly affects your ability to continue doing your job. Different occupations also provide for different levels of license suspensions, some of which are probated suspensions.

State Board of Dental Examiners

Under 22 Tex. Admin. Code §107.26(c)(5), the State Board of Dental Examiners can issue a Probated License Suspension as a heightened form of discipline against people with dental licenses. A Probated License Suspension can remain effective for several years, but the licensee can continue to practice during the suspension. The suspension may or may not be accompanied by an Administrative Fine.

On the other hand, the State Board of Dental Examiners can also impose an Enforced Suspension, a heightened form of discipline that can last for days or years. The difference between a Probated Suspension and an Enforced Suspension is that the licensee may not practice during the term of the Enforced Suspension. An Enforced Suspension also can be accompanied by an Administrative Fine.

State Bar of Texas

Like the State Board of Dental Examiners, the State Bar of Texas can impose a fully probated suspension for a certain term. The respondent lawyer can continue to practice law during a probated suspension and must comply with specific “terms of probation.” Typically, these terms include:

  • Refraining from engaging in further misconduct;
  • Not violating any federal or state criminal statutes;
  • Keeping the State Bar notified of current mailing, residential, and business addresses;
  • Completing all required continuing education requirements;
  • Following the rules for maintaining lawyer trust accounts; and
  • Responding to any requests from the Chief Disciplinary Counsel for the State Bar in connection with an investigation into allegations of misconduct

Other terms of probation may involve completing additional continuing legal education requirements, undergoing a psychological evaluation, attending substance abuse counseling, practicing law under the supervision of another attorney, or paying restitution and attorney’s fees by a certain date.

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In contrast, a suspension for a term certain, or an “active” suspension, prohibits an attorney from practicing law for the duration of the suspension. However, assuming that the lawyer has met all other eligibility requirements at the end of an active suspension, the lawyer may resume practicing law.

The State Bar of Texas also can issue a partially probated suspension. In this scenario, the licensed attorney is subject to a certain period of active suspension, followed by a probated suspension.

Texas Board of Nursing

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The Texas Board of Nursing (BON) also may issue a fully probated suspension of a nursing license under  Tex. Occ. Code, §301.468. The BON must establish the probationary period during which the licensee must follow certain terms and conditions of probation. These conditions may include:

  • Limiting the practice or excluding one or more activities of professional or vocational nursing;
  • Requiring the licensee to submit to supervision, care, counseling, or treatment by a practitioner designated by the BON; or
  • Requiring the licensee to submit to random drug or alcohol testing.

During the term of the probated suspension, the BON can hold a hearing and determine whether to rescind the probation and enforce its original order in suspending the nursing license of the individual. This determination is based on whether the licensee violated the terms of probation as set by BON.

However, in some cases, the BON may determine from the outset that a probated suspension is inappropriate. In that situation, the BON can issue an “enforced” suspension, in which there is no probation and no ability of the nurse to continue working as a nurse, at least for a specific term.

Texas Medical Board

Like other disciplinary bodies for professionals, the Texas Medical Board (TMB) can suspend a medical license or probate the suspension of a medical license under Tex. Occ. Code §164.001(1)-(2). Upon placing the licensee on probation while on suspension, TMB can impose various conditions on the ability of the medical professional to continue to practice, including the following:

  • Limiting the practice of the person or excluding one or more activities of medicine;
  • Stipulating public board review;
  • Requiring the person to submit to the care, counseling, or treatment of physicians;
  • Requiring the person to engage in an educational or counseling program;
  • Requiring the person to practice under the supervision of a designated physician;
  • Requiring the person to perform public service approved by the TMB; and
  • Assessing an administrative penalty to be paid by the person

Other Professionals and Probated Suspensions

In addition to dentists, attorneys, nurses, and doctors, various other professionals can face suspensions and probated suspensions of their licenses from their respective licensing agencies. For instance, real estate professionals can face suspensions, both probated and active, of their real estate licenses.

The Texas Department of Licensing & Regulation (TDLR) can issue license suspensions and probated license suspensions for most occupations that it oversees in the appropriate circumstances. Vehicle storage facility operators, massage therapists, dieticians, orthotists, and polygraph examiners are among these occupations.

Don’t Face a Disciplinary Complaint Without Legal Representation

A single complaint can endanger your license and ruin your reputation. After you have worked so hard to finish your education and build your career, this is not a risk that you can take lightly. As a result, having an experienced professional license defense attorney can be essential to a positive outcome in your case. You can reach the offices of Bertolino LLP by calling (512) 476-5757 today or filling out our contact form online.

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